Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to attracting, hiring and retaining individuals with disabilities (IWD), which is an important component of VCU’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. VCU recognizes that IWD brings an extraordinary array of skills and training to the workplace. VCU is dedicated to being an employer of choice for IWD. Important information, myths, and resources provided below are intended to help departments understand the value of hiring IWD, as well as how and where to recruit IWD. Some content adapted from the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management.
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The MAP method – best practices for recruiting and retaining people with disabilities:
Importance of diversity, inclusion and equity
Benefits of hiring individuals with a disability (1-3 from SHRM Article)
People with disabilities live very different lives than people without disabilities.
False: Overall, people with disabilities live similar lives to those without disabilities, although, some ways of doing things may be a little bit different depending on the type and severity of a person’s disability. For example, people with limited use of their arms and legs can drive, but their car will be fitted with hand controls for gas and brakes and possibly a special handle to grip the steering wheel.
People with disabilities can only work at special jobs made just for them.
False: As with all people, certain jobs may be better for some than for others. While there are obvious job matches that don’t align (example: someone with a sight impairment being a bus driver or someone who has quadriplegia being a loader for a shipping company), people should not be denied employment opportunities based on the disability they have. There are often many different ways of doing something that are equally effective.
People with disabilities are dependent and always need help.
All of us may have difficulty doing some things and may require assistance. People with disabilities may require help on occasion; however, disability does not mean dependency. It is always a good strategy not to assume a person with a disability needs assistance. Just ask!
People with disabilities are a one-dimensional group.
There are societal assumptions that tend to view people with disabilities as a one-dimensional group who all have the same needs, interests and opinions. People with disabilities reflect the same diversity that exists in the rest of society, including varying social, economic, cultural, family and educational characteristics. The viewpoints expressed by an individual with a disability are not representative of those of all people with disabilities.
People with disabilities cannot lead a full and productive life.
People with disabilities are capable of fully participating in community life. It is important to focus on a person’s ability, not their limitations.
It costs a lot to hire individuals with disabilities.
While many companies are concerned about the costs of accommodating persons with disabilities, these are actually minimal and fruitful investments. According to employers participating in a recent study by Job Accommodation Network, a service from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, a high percentage (59 percent) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500 per employee with a disability (Accenture 2018)
Partnership for People with Disabilities - A strategic goal of the Partnership is to support adults with disabilities using the principles of self-determination and inclusion to guide our work. To achieve their goal, the Partnership is committed to helping communities garner the resources needed for adults and aging persons with disabilities to meet their personal needs and interests.
VCU Equity and Access Services Equity and Access Services leads, coordinates and supports civil rights compliance for Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU Equity and Access Services is committed to fostering a safe environment and ensuring equal access to education and related services to everyone affiliated with the VCU community, including visitors and job applicants.
VCU Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities policy Virginia Commonwealth University (“VCU”) is committed to ensuring accessibility and equal access to its information, programs, and activities, including its technologies and web pages. VCU will provide reasonable accommodations to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to compete for or perform jobs, participate in classes or other university functions, or access university information, including information delivered through digital or online methods.
VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center - Established in 1983, the Virginia Commonwealth University RRTC provides resources for professionals, individuals with disabilities, and their representatives. Our team of nationally and internationally renowned researchers is committed to developing and advancing evidence-based practices to increase the hiring and retention for individuals with disabilities.
VCU School of Education ACE-IT in College - ACE-IT in College is an inclusive college program for students with intellectual disabilities. It provides individualized support, allowing students to participate in employment, college classes and campus activities, and helps prepare them to pursue their self-determined futures.
Virginia Department of Aging for Rehabilitation Services (DARS) - The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, in collaboration with community partners, provides and advocates for resources and services to improve the employment, quality of life, security, and independence of older Virginians, Virginians with disabilities, and their families. DARS includes the Adult Protective Services Division, the Community Based Services Division, Disability Determination Services, the Division for Rehabilitative Services, the Division for the Aging, Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center, the Office of Community Integration and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
The Choice Group - Founded in 1998, we have dedicated over 20 years to helping our clients find meaningful employment as a part of a full and enriching lifestyle. Those who encounter varying obstacles to entering the competitive work force find their efforts become more productive when paired with The Choice Group’s assistance.
Career Support Systems, Inc. - CSS is a private, nationally-accredited provider of community-based employment and support services for people with disabilities or obstacles to employment. Founded in 1993, CSS has built its reputation by designing and delivering an array of highly individualized job placement services and a full range of complimentary support employment services.
The Next Move Program - The Next Move Program, a 501 (c)(3) organization, partners with businesses to create guided internship experiences for young adults with disabilities.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN): The Virginia Business Leadership Network (VABLN): A business to business association that is focused on the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the workforce.
Labor for America (LFA): A web based resource that allows employers in both private and public sectors to search a database of federal employees that have been displaced from their federal jobs due to a work related injury.
The Virginia Business Leadership Network (VABLN): A business to business association that is focused on the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the workforce.
Employee Assistance and Resource Network (EARN): A network that assists employers with recruiting, hiring, and retaining people with disabilities.
Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR): A search engine on JAN that allows users to find various accommodation options for people with disabilities in workplace and recreational settings.
Workforce Recruitment Program: A recruitment and referral program that connects public and private sector employers to college students and recent graduates with disabilities through summer or permanent job opportunities.